SICCDA’s job club

Stephanie Costello visits SICCDA's Job Club (Credit: Sam McKenna)

Stephanie Costello visits SICCDA's Job Club (Credit: Sam McKenna)

The Liberties, like most communities around Ireland has experienced its fair share of the recession. Unemployment figures pour in daily from news outlets but they mean little without a face or a name. While it’s easy to lose confidence after becoming unemployed, community outreach groups around the city are on hand to help provide invaluable support for anyone in need of advice.

The work of SICCDA is well known in the Liberties area, but perhaps lesser known to the public is the range of services they provide. Barbara Brennan is head of the  ‘Job Club’, located on Meath Street, where training workshops are helping the unemployed of all ages get back into the workplace.

“We’ve been in the community helping the unemployed for over 20 years now and yes, it is bad at the moment but there are jobs out there” admits Barbara.

If you are out of work and job ready, the training lasts four weeks along with full back up support services. The club offers practical advice on interview techniques and body language as well as that all-important CV preparation.

A large bright building with a computer room for checking e-mails and making telephone calls is also at the disposal of participants.

“We ask everyone when they come in about their dream job. Surprisingly, I’ve found that not many people have really asked themselves that,” says Barbara.

If there is something out there that you really want to do but have been putting off, take the opportunity and give it a go. The Job Club will assist you every step of the way and provide you with all the information you need.

However, if the thought of being in a fixed job for the rest of your life makes you queasy, you’re not alone.

There is plenty of time to ponder your career path in a one-on-one session with Barbara and her colleague.

“Break it down” advises Barbara, “simply think about what you enjoy doing.” Do you like being outside everyday? Work well with your hands? A good organizer? Little questions like these can help you hone in on your talents. Don’t beat yourself up if nothing takes your fancy at first, sometimes knowing what you don’t want to do is just as useful.

Looking after your mental health is crucial during the job seeking process. Low self-esteem, lack of motivation and depression among the unemployed is common but you must be kind to yourself.

After all, confidence is the name of the game in the job hunt so stay positive and focused. If an interview goes terribly, see it as a learning opportunity, don’t be afraid to call an employer and ask them where you fell down.

“Always ask for feedback in an interview. It’s the only way to improve. People come in here and at first they are too embarrassed to ask employers where they fell down, but practice really does make perfect,” says Barbara.

Not surprisingly, unemployment seminars have taken off around Dublin since the recession, a quick search on Google yields hundreds of agencies offering help with CV cover letters and interview techniques. On average these cost about €80 and last only a few days. The job club is free of charge and open to anyone, Liberties resident or not, and €20 per week is paid to those in receipt of social welfare to help with any additional costs. So, go on and give it a try. You never know, it could be the start of something big.

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